I’ve started to post this video several times but it’s been hard for me to get past the stupidity. The broseph you see in this video decided he would use a photographer’s images that he “found on Google . . . freely available” in his Shopify “business.” The problem, however, is that he didn’t get a license or permission from the photographer.
The photographer then sued the thief with evidence supporting his slam-dunk case. Moron rightly decides to settle the case for $27,000 plus $10,000 in court costs and attorney’s fees.
His defense is a maddening riddle:
“There are malicious people who put copyrighted images all over the internet without letting clearly know that they’re copyrighted. And then these same people search for the instances of images used and sue people. They work in groups, that’s their business model.”
I can’t do much more than throw my hands up at this. While I’ve heard the “freely available on Google” schtick many times before, it’s still shocking to hear the defiance in this guy’s rant. And he still doesn’t get it after paying out $37,000.
This is the stupidity that photographers are up against.
Keith Cooper says
Unbelievable – OK, unfortunately not so much… :-(
I use the Pixsy image finding service, who then take care of chasing up image thieves – one of the reasons I gave up trying to ‘do it myself’ was that I’ve got better things to do than have people berate me for having the temerity to try and protect my intellectual property.
Even so, this outburst of stupidity is the best I’ve seen yet…
There are Photographers on the internet who display their wares to snare people by cashing in on the pretext of “stealing” their photographs. This is Big Business even with some Photographic Blogs.
Example: We were researching the perfect Asian Skin Tone that turn out rather Reddish-Brown in most DSLRs. So we used a photo as sample from the Internet – there was no mention of copyright anywhere. We were immediately accused of “Stealing”, when we clearly mentioned it was being used as a technical sample to find the best in-camera setting and a WB – its finding would have helped hundreds of Photographers for Free as it was an open discussion on a Forum.
Keith Cooper says
“there was no mention of copyright anywhere” – there doesn’t need to be…
As to ‘Photographers on the internet who display their wares to snare people by cashing in on the pretext of “stealing” their photographs’ – examples? evidence?
If you use someone else’s images, the onus is on you to find out. Putting “stealing” in quote marks doesn’t remove the fact that copyright infringement is simple theft, whether you like it or not.
There are aspects of ‘fair use’ and an academic usage may count, but you still need to give full credit, and asking permission first can save a lot of trouble. Several of my images recently appeared in a technical photography book – they asked first and I was quite happy to give a FOC license.
Just another example of the entitled generation… “I want, therefore give me” with total disregard of any and all respect for the photographer that did the work and invested time and money into their craft and equipment.
Only $37,000? Guy got off easy. Should be felony Grand Larceny with jail time in addition to the monetary penalty.
Ralph Conway says
Is it really getting so far already that a thief, who was sentenced by law for steeling still feels innocent? There are millions TVs out there and TV owners just own them to “make a busyness of it” to get their rights, when you are caught while breaking into a hous and steeling one?
You are not a ten year old boy, sharing a pic on facebook. As far I understood you are running a busyness and used the photo for it without permission. In this case “I did not know …” can not be an excuse. It is just a lie. You knew and hoped to get away with it. Good so you did not. 37k $ seem not to be enough to punish people like you.
I wish people would stop calling it “copyright theft” and “stealing images”. Nothing has been stolen. You still have the original. If it was a one-off print and someone broke into your house and took it away, that is image theft, because you no longer have it. It is copyright infringement, and the laws vary from country to country. Some (unscrupulous) places may even consider copyright the right to copy whatever they want.
If someone is using an image for commercial gain, then yes they should pay a licensing fee, but some people get too precious about their photos being shared on social media, and demand payment or take-downs. Yes, a photo should be properly credited and permission asked, but you are hardly losing revenue, unless “likes” have become actual currency. If your image is being exploited, or someone is taking credit for it, sure, pursue the culprit, but usually the only real winners in legal cases are the lawyers.
If you put your images on the ‘net, expect them to be shared and copied and be seen by lots of people; or never put them online and have no one see them, including potential clients.
Keith Cooper says
Nope – I will continue to call it theft.
Your semantic contortions make it easier for people to justify ‘borrowing’ or some-such. If calling it theft makes people think about the consequences then good.
Having tried dealing with wrongful commercial use by direct contact and attempts to get a license fee, I’ve got fed up with people’s “oh, it’s nothing really” approach or “but it’s exposure” and downright hostility. Switching over to a third party to handle this has saved a lot of personal hassle.
This protects our business and the business of clients who may have paid for photos. We don’t go after every mis-use and will sometimes contact charities/churches to point out the issue and note that some other copyright owners may take a harsher view of infringements.
Eric Reagan says
I wholeheartedly agree Keith.
Agreed 120% wit CP, except for the last para:-
“or never put them online and have no one see them, including potential clients”.
I would retain this line only from CP:-
“If you put your images on the ‘net, expect them to be shared and copied and be seen by lots of people, provided its use is acknowledged or permission obtained”.
This is the dawning of the age of stupid.
I see this the same as the guy who walked by the counter in a bar and palmed a pack of MY cigarettes. His excuse was, “I didn’t know whose they were.” Shoulda cut off at least one of his fingers. :-(
You just CAN NOT fix stupid! But you can charge the a fee for the privilege of being stupid. There is no excuse for taking an image that is not yours and using it for personal gain. To do so, simply stated, is called theft! Trying to justify this is simply telling the entire world “her is how stupid I am!”
Not too long ago, I I used to do this, unfortunately.
I started off when I was a young student, with a flawed understanding that the images from Google were free for non-commercial use. By the time I understood that was wrong, I already had many pictures used on my site. For a while I was wondering if my usage constituted Fair Use – as I was using the images for satirical comments, and Fair Use, in some sites, mentioned humor and commentary as possibly protected.
After a while, I understood (at some level) that I was wrong, but then I had too many images used on my site (hamishjoy.com) by then. I certainly didn’t want to steal, but I didn’t know what to do – My site essentially has never made money, and I was just sinking money into it just cos I love to write. I was still nursing the hope that my usage would be justified as fair use.
Eventually, I was completely convinced that what I was doing was theft – At this point, there was no alternative but to bite the bullet and change all my images – I subscribed to a stock photography site, paid and replaced all my images. Nowadays, I first try free and legal sources (pixabay/ wikimedia/ etc) first for photos I can use. If not that, then I buy from depositphotos.com.
I ended up losing more money – since my site still doesn’t earn anything. But my site is all the better for it. I also feel a lot better using these images.
I just want to say – about some of the people who are in my shoes – they just need someone to tell them clearly that their usage is wrong – ethically, morally, legally. If they’re like me, they’ll bite the bullet. It’s worth it – take it from me; someone who’s losing money upkeeping a site and still paying an annual subscription for images.